Detection and Treatment of Giardia

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Giardia is aparasite that live in the small intestines of dogs and cats and can cause an illness known as giardiasis, with symptoms of intermittent diarrhea and vomiting. Often mistakenly associated only with rescue pets and abandoned animals, giardia also impacts many puppies and kittens from reputable breeders.

Pets with access to open streams and other pets are at a particularly high risk of contracting the parasite. Giardia is easily transmitted to humans too, especially children. A small percentage of pets can carry giardia yet be completely asymptomatic, so a fecal smear and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test is critical to determine whether a pet is infected.

To ensure a healthy outcome for the pet, a treatment protocol for giardia requires a multipronged approach. An effective plan includes three components: an antiparasitic medication such as Panacur or Flagyl, hygiene to prevent re-infestation, and supplements to repair and rebuild the pet’s intestinal tract.

Probiotics can prevent harmful, longterm effects, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) reducing inflammation in the intestinal tract and rebalancing helpful intestinal flora. Pets given this treatment plan are likely to have a positive outcome and enjoy a long, healthy life.

Source: Dr. Michel Selmer of Advanced Animal Care, located at 260 Evergreen Ave., Huntington Station. For more information, call 631-FOR-PETS or visit

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